4 min read
Aromatherapy is one of my favorite elements of spirituality. Something to know about me, and another notch on my oh-this-chick-is-a-teensy-bit-of-a-weirdo-but-Iam- digging-her-openness-and-honesty belt is that when I meet people, I give them a good sniff. (And, just for the record, I am not like a butt-sniffing dog. I am classy about it. Well, as classy as you can be, I guess. Oh, side note: if you decide to start sniffing people when you first meet them, it’s best to just power through the awkward moment that follows). You can tell a lot about someone by his or her scent. I especially do it when seeking a partner; if I am attracted to their scent, it will last longer than if their scent repulses me. Try it. Trust me. It works...
I love the fact that scents can elicit so many different responses in people for so many different reasons—one person smells fresh-baked muffins and is reminded of weekend brunch at their grandma’s house when they were little, and another conjures up the bakery down the street from their first apartment—and that each person has a unique relationship to the smells they love, and the ones they hate! I personally can’t handle patchouli (it smells like bad BO to me, yuck!) even though it’s one of the most widely used scents in incense around the world (a mystery never to be understood). When we connect with the scents we enjoy, however, they can instantly pick us up, calm us down, or transport us—kind of like Mother Earth’s version of drugs without the nasty side effects. I also think aromatherapy is one of the quickest, easiest ways to incorporate a level of spirituality into your life—like a spiritual life hack.
Think of a weed. Now, a weed is called a weed because it grows where it is not wanted. But one person’s weed is another person’s wild flower. Take the common dandelion—a pest to many gardeners, and yet to others, a key healer and natural medicine used in teas, salads, and an essential oil that helps to relieve muscle pain and tension. When I first was learning about dandelions, it made me start to think about a lot of weed-like things (metaphorically as well as literally) and as I deepened my exploration of all of these kinds of things, it shifted how I looked at the world around me. When I stopped seeing weeds as weeds, it was a spiritual shift for me.
When people outside the spiritual realm hear about aromatherapy, many don’t realize that they already practice some of the key elements of aromatherapy in their day-to-day lives. Candles, incense, diffusers, and even perfume are all modern-day aromatherapies. A modern-day Soul Searcher does not need to smell frankincense and myrrh or have the thick smoke of incense billowing out of their home to qualify as a card-carrying aromatherapy enthusiast. In fact, just as you set aside skepticism to experiment with and embrace crystals and their many beneficial properties (kudos to you, by the way), I now invite you to follow your nose further into personal spiritual growth through aromatherapy.
People have used natural herbs, flowers, incense, oils, and perfumes throughout time to connect body, mind, and spirit in a sweet-smelling cloud of spiritual wellness. Today, aromatherapy can be as simple as a spray from your favorite perfume bottle or the heated intensity of an essential oil burner.
As you begin to explore, you will start to notice that we live in a world full of deodorants and sprays that are pumped out by the hundreds. Because of this, it’s important to identify scents that speak to you on a personal level and, through these personal connections, find ways to incorporate aromatherapy into your daily rituals.
Diving into the world of aromas, let’s start with perfumes. The word perfume is actually Latin for “through smoke,” originating from the fragrance of incense that is commonly used in spiritual rituals. The Egyptians have long been considered to be the preeminent perfumers, mastering how to extract essential oils from everything from flowers, grass, leaves, fruit, trees, cedarwood, and cinnamon long ago. They connected perfumes with the gods, spirituality in general, and physical and mental health—like so many elements of spirituality, the body, the mind, and the spirit united.
The ancient Chinese, Hindus, Israelites, Carthaginians, Arabs, Greeks, and Romans all practiced forms of aromatherapy, as well. While the earliest use of perfume bottles in Egypt date to around 1000 BCE, it is believed that the art of aromatherapy itself actually originated from both the Greeks and the Chinese. Greek mythology maintains that the knowledge of fragrance and perfume was something only the gods were gifted, and that knowledge of aromatherapy and its ability to influence health and moods was a sign of status.
To this day, scent is connected with celebrity, which I believe comes down to the simple fact that when we wear a fragrance, it lifts our mood and sometimes makes us feel almost royal. Perfume, beauty, and confidence all go together, and many of us Soul Searchers are drawn to beauty in all its forms, including scent. It is every Soul Searcher’s right to know the power and benefits of different scents and oils. Aromatherapy will uplift your spirits and calm your mind and body, making you more open to exploring, enjoying, and growing from other spiritual lessons along your path.
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